From their second to their third birthday, children change remarkably as they master their skills, and start to understand the world around them. They are developing a sense of themselves as individuals and can have a positive view of their own identity.
Between the ages of 2 and 3, development focuses on three main areas. These areas are the foundation blocks for embedding life skills and preparing for school.
Physical development can be split into two aspects; gross motor skills, which involve large muscles groups and overall control of their body, and fine motor skills, which involve smaller muscles for more precise co-ordination.
At this age children are becoming more confident and co-ordinated in their physical movements. Children enjoy practising these skills in their play and lively games.
- Some children are more confident, while others need gentle encouragement to extend and challenge these skills
- Get moving - use movement games; such as tag, action rhymes, make obstacle courses and dance
- Provide safe surroundings in which children can move freely
- Talk about safety but DO NOT stop your child from trying new 'moves', they are testing what their bodies can and can't do
- During meal times involve your child in selecting and preparing food, allow them to pur their own drinks and serve their own food
By this age children will be using many words and combining them into meaningful phrases and short sentences, and by three they may be able to ask questions, re-tell events and hold short two way conversations. Mistakes will happen, especially when your child is engrossed in their play.
- Before speaking to your child, call their name in order to get their attention and to ensure they are listening
- When speaking to your child, speak clearly and at a slightly slower pace
- Reduce the level of background noise, such as, music or the television
- When asking a question, give your child time to process the question and to think of an appropriate answer
- To hep your child learn and remember new words, use items that stimulate the senses, e.g. make a fruit salad; touch, smell and taste the food
All children need food, warmth, physical exercise and rest; they also need to feel a sense of love and trust. Together these give young children the desire and confidence to explore their world and society further.
- Set clear and consistent boundaries, ask family and friends to abide by these when your child is in their care
- Have reasonable expectations; just because your child did something yesterday, doesn't mean they will do it today
- Give simple and clear instrustions, allow plenty of time for your child to carry out the tasks
- Keep routines flexible to reduce your child's frustration
- Give encouragement